Local news in China reports that an airship capable of carrying up to 60 tonnes is now under research and development (R&D) by the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd. (CAIGA), a subsidiary of China Aviation Industry Group.

The airship will be inflated with helium to achieve this task, gasworld understands.

The airships industry is one of the most renowned and discussed future applications of helium. It’s thought that the commercial development of airships could represent a significant demand driver for the global helium business in the future, but the lift-off for this industry has previously been beset by a number of false starts.

A number of commercial airship projects are understood to be in various stages of development.

For CAIGA, having signed an joint venture cooperation agreement with French company Flying Whales in Toulouse (France) earlier this year to fabricate heavy-load airships, the development of air-buoyant aviators is one of its strategic development directions. This has also been included in the medium and long-term development plant of the China Aviation Industry Grioup.

CAIGA already has a product line of airships named ‘Golden Vulture’ and participated in an airshow held in Jingmen, Hubei province from 4th to 6th October.

Airships are used in China for various applications such as scientific research and testing, environment monitoring, exploration of resources, emergency relief, and many others.